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Woodland (Caine Road) or IMS or Island Children's Montessori for Playgroup

  1. #1
    tatame is offline Registered User
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    Woodland (Caine Road) or IMS or Island Children's Montessori for Playgroup

    Hi,

    My girl is 15 months old. I'm planning to get my girl to international kindergarten / school, such as GSIS, CIS or SIS, etc, so I'm looking for a good playgroup / nursery for her. I'm considering Woodland (Caine Road) or IMS or Island Children's Montessori or Kiangsu - Chekiang International Sections. Any comments or other suggestion? Thanks.

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    MommyTo3 is offline Registered User
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    Just wondering as you're naming 2 schools with a very strong Chinese program (SIS and CIS) while GSIS hasn't. So if Mandarin is very important to you, you may want to chose a preschool / reception program that has a strong Mandarin program as well to prepare your daughter for that. I don't know the preschools mentioned very well, but personally I am not a fan of Montessori. But again, that's very personal, I have been through it, and wouldn't choose it for my children.

    First decide what's important to you, as all schools mentioned are very good but also very different in terms of focus and curriculum.

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    jojojo is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by MommyTo3 View Post
    I am not a fan of Montessori. But again, that's very personal, I have been through it, and wouldn't choose it for my children.
    Would you care to share why?

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    flo
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    ICMS is not a good choice. My son was in it for a while and I ended up withdrawing - quite hastily.

    I love Montessori, and my son has been in Montessori for almost 3 years. He will transfer to IMS in September and hopefully, everything works out and he will finish primary there as well. Bear in mind that, MANY Montessori schools in HK are run in the Montessori name only. A properly run Montessori school is very different. However, whether a child fits Montessori is another question. My daughter is not as good a fit as my son. She was also in Montessori for 3 years, but she didn't pick up as many Montessori traits as my son. She is now in year 1 at an IS.

    All the schools you named - GSIS, SIS and CIS are extremely difficult to get into nowadays. I don't know so much about GSIS. For CIS, if you have no connection (e.g. alumni, sibling), only half of the reception vacancies are open to public (about 44). SIS gives priority to Singaporeans. Just EXTREMELY competitive. It's better that you consider more choices as backup.

    Just my 2 cents worth.

  5. #5
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    nicolejoy is offline Registered User
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    I've been happy with ICMS - my older daughter (3.5) has been going since the toddler program (nearly 2 years now) and her little sister has been going for a few months (she's now 21 months). Is it perfect? Of course not - no school is - but they have some really good teachers, nice facilities and my girls both love it. I've recommended it to friends. If you have more questions, you can ask here or PM me.

  6. #6
    flo
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    Depending on what you are looking for. If you regard ICMS as a regular kindy combined with some Montessori elements, then it is OK. If a parent is looking for a true Montessori school, then it is not. My son was happy there too, but I found their class day unstructured, and teachers didn't supervise activities and the kids during work cycle as much as our old Montessori school. My son, who has always been very focused and even-tempered, began showing signs of bad temper about a month after he started there and it got worse. I had a chance to talk to some parents with kids in the same class eventually, and I found out many wanted to withdraw - only held back because many were waiting for interview with IS. Other than my son, I knew at least 3 other kids in the same class who withdrew immediately after they received IS interview results. However, seems ICMS kids have a good chance in getting interviews with ESF (including my son).

    Immediately after I transferred my son back to his old school, I saw his concentration and temper improving and returning to how he was like before (and that was with a new teacher in a different class!). When the teacher showed me pictures of my son at work, I was horrified to find that some Montessori work that he already mastered half a year ago had now all become a mess! That can only mean that at ICMS, they didn't keep him on work that he could do and was doing already or the teacher just didn't supervise him! and I put in a lot of effort when my son started at ICMS. I photocopied our previous school report (6 pages total which detailed EVERY Montessori tool he was working on and at what level), wrote out a list of Chinese characters that he had learned (I taught him myself) and at what level was his phonics. Apparently, the teacher didn't give it much time and then just returned it to me. I even made an appointment to talk to Mr. Chow and the class teacher to give them an overview of my son and tried to gain an understanding of how their class is run.

    Overall, just a big disappointment. The kids there are happy. I don't disagree. But if you are looking for true Montessori, then it's not. I took a 90-hour Montessori parenting class, so when I look for a Montessori school, I don't want a hybrid.

  7. #7
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    nicolejoy is offline Registered User
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    That's fair enough. I don't really care much about the school philosophy on a kindy level (even though I'm a teacher myself) - I figure if we were in Australia, there's no way I'd be sending them to kindy at this age anyway - at least not 5 days a week anyway. My 3 year old loves school and is already learning to read, she can write every letter, she recognises countries by their shapes, she sings many songs in Mandarin... I would be happy if she were just having fun at kindy, but she's having fun AND learning heaps of interesting things as well. I'm not one of the kinds of parents who pushes my preschooler to achieve anything academic though. My personal believe is that at this age, they are meant to have fun and develop personally/socially rather than learning to read and do maths at age 2...

    I do know the kids there have a lot of independence in the classroom, which I really like (my daughter is very independent by nature so it suits her personality). I also like how it is a mixed age classroom. There is a boy in my daughter's class who is 6 and is very much a "big brother" to my daughter. She talks about him all the time, about how kind he is, how helpful he is, etc... With my daughter being the oldest child, if it wasn't for a mixed-age classroom, she wouldn't have much interaction with kids older than her. I value that aspect of the class.

    To be completely honest though, I didn't shop around that much for schools and probably would have applied to ESF if I'd remembered (the month I was meant to apply, my younger daughter was born and was in NICU, so kindy applications were the last thing on my mind). But I've never been unhappy with the classes or the teachers there.
    carang likes this.

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